By Jack Ryan
The Eagles open their 2015 training camp in 19 days, Aug. 2 at the NovaCare complex.
And of all the lingering questions of Supreme Leader Chip Kelly’s massive overhaul, add one big one:
Will Marcus Smith, the team’s No. 1 draft pick in 2014, get on the field at insider linebacker, which he rarely did last season?
“I was a little surprised when they took him where they did,” an executive in personnel for another team told NJ.com of Smith. “And I don’t think I was alone. We didn’t have that high of a grade on him and I don’t know of any other team that did.
“To judge him now, I really can’t say. I didn’t see him play much. But I guess there’s a reason for that.”
Smith did nothing as a rookie and didn’t even play a defensive snap the final five games of the season. He wasn’t exactly in Kelly’s good graces through the team’s spring OTAs and minicamp, especially when he missed early workouts with a minor leg injury.
What the Eagles hope to get from Smith is quality time as the No. 3 outside linebacker behind starters Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham.
Last year Barwin logged 1,007 snaps (87 percent) and Trent Cole, now with the Colts, logged an even 800 (69 percent). Graham, as the No. 3 last season, played 499 snaps (43 percent).
So can Smith, who barely played last season, make that jump to close to 500 snaps? Or will Travis Long, who spent last season on injured reserve with a torn ACL but was healthy in the spring, leap in front of him?
“A lot of guys get better from year one to year two,” the executive said. “The Eagles better hope (Smith) does.”